Pepe Nero - Goose Island Beer Co.

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Pepe NeroPepe Nero

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very good

1,691 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,691
Reviews: 503
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 11.73%
Wants: 40
Gots: 282 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  6.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: adamette on 03-30-2010

Mahogany color, black pepper aroma, roasted malt and spice flavor, creamy body.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,691 | Reviews: 503
Reviews by IchLiebeBier:
Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.79/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: dark chestnut; medium, frothy beige head with good lacing

Smell: earthy smell; smells almost like a newly dried tobacco leaf; light hops, almost undetectable; different smell than any beer I've had before; interesting

Taste: creamy malt with roasted grains; light hop notes; finishes semi sweet that starts to turn to a dry lingering aftertaste

Mouthfeel: creamy, medium bodied; medium carbonation

Remarks: not bad overall

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.07/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 bottle.I gotta say I have never seen a saison/farmhouse Belgian this dark in color,it's a deep mahogany with a great looking fluffy one and a half finger light beige head atop that spits and billows as settles oh so slowly in my chalice.Aromas of candied sugar and hard toffee,a light peppery spice is detected.Dark fruit and toffee flavors with a smack of pepper in the finish wich I like,dark fruits as required are there.Although the bottle may say farmouse this isn't a farmhouse beer,it's a Belgian dark with peppercorns and it's pretty damn good.

Photo of Clonies720
1.63/5  rDev -56.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

Bottled 03/04/2011. 22 oz bomber poured into a tulip

Appearance: Oily black. Nice tan head.

Aroma: Dark fruits. Can't get much else.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Malt forward, with a spicy kick in the finish that cuts the sweet malt. High carbonation that is somewhat unpleasant to me.

Overall: I really would not buy it again as the taste is too dull when there's so much more out there.

Photo of warnerry
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 4/20/11;bottle 1/11

A - Pours a deep amber/red with three fingers of creamy tan head. Head has great retention and leaves good lacing.

S - Smell is mostly Belgian yeast with a slight funk.

T - Unexpected slight tartness in the taste, with some pepper and yeast. Aftertaste is somewhat bitter, peppery and dry.

M - Light/medium mouthfeel with nice carbonation.

O - Overall a good saison, but not one of my favorites. Pepper adds something interesting. I would have this again, but not seek it out.

Photo of Billolick
3.38/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber, 2011 version, Bottled "01/07/11"

Near black, larger mocha head, larger bubbles, slow to fade. Leaves ample froth, thick sheeting.

Dark malts in the nose.

Malty, dark and roasty, not getting much if any traditional "saison" characteristics. Maybe some light pepper in the finish. Eh...not really sure what to make of this one, others said "stout", "porter" "schwartz beer/saison hybrid" and even "black IPA" If you are looking for a nice saison that looks and tastes like a saison, this is not for you...Decent enough drinker, but not really doing much for this saison lover...

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Pawola22 for sharing this bottle. Always happy to try a new beer from Goose Island.

The beer pours a dark brown color with red highlights and an off-white head.

The aroma is caramel and Belgian yeast, with some spiced notes and a little bit of chocolate.

The flavor is similar. I get some chocolate notes, as well as quite a bit of dark fruit, Belgian yeast, pepper and some light Belgian candy sugar.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of NicholasCasber
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer poured dark but nothing out of the ordinary. Definitely something that I'd expect from a saison. The head was very minimal, however I didn't really have a straight pour.

S - Smelled of brown sugar and citrus.

T - The brown sugar citrus smell continued on through the taste, however, the aftertaste was surprisingly mellow for me.

M - Good bodied, and not too watery.

O - Overall, a good beer and worth the try!


Photo of bsp77
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Tulip. Bottling date of 1/3/11.

Appearance: Very dark ruby with nice tan head, but does not leave much lacing.

Smell: Banana, molasses, clove and pepper. Not as pungent as most Saisons, as the roasted malt may temper the classic crisp Saison aroma.

Taste: Tastes like a mix of banana and molasses upfront, with hints of chocolate and ripe fruit. Finish is more spicy, with clove and pepper, and a light roasted bite.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, fairly smooth body, dry finish. Creamier than the typical Saison.

Drinkability: Comes across as a more mellow Saison with just a touch of roasted malts (most noticeable by the molasses aroma and taste). Also, reminds me a little of a Dunkelweizen. Overall, mellow but very drinkable and enjoyable.

Photo of deebo
3.05/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 1/3/11

A-Dark black/brown color, moderate carbonation, tight tan head with lacing on glass

S-Yeasty, fruity esters are dominant aroma

T-Yeasty, sweet malt flavor with some sourness and astringency, a little floral/pine hop aftertaste. Different from any other "saison" I've had.

M-Plenty of tingly carbonation, medium bodied, lingering sour/astringent aftertaste

D-The aftertaste makes this a bit low compared to other saisons.

O-An interesting combination, this dark saison has decent flavor, the aftertaste is a bit offputting, will see how it ages

5/21/15-revisiting this beer after almost 4 years since last review. The appearance and carbonation is still spot on. As I would expect this beer has taken on a bit more sweetness and some ripe dark fruit notes. Any hop aroma and taste is long gone. I'm getting a hint of astringency still but it's a bit muted. Overall I prefer this with the age on it but it still isn't worth the effort. I'd bump up the taste and mouthfeel a point and keep the aroma and appearance as is. Not bad.

Photo of Ammertime
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft, served in a nonic.

A: very dark reddish brown. A little bit of a lighter brown head formed and did not swiftly dissipate.

S: rather non-descript.

T: the rye is prominent, adding a delectable spiciness to this saison. Slightly piquant up front, nice maltiness in the main body, with a pleasantly dry finish. The yeastiness is very low.

M: slightly richer than normal, yet still quite bubbly

O: I don't normally prefer saisons, including Sofie, but found the dry spicy pepperiness of this one to elevate it beyond the normal expectations of the style. It's easy drinking, perhaps a touch too strong to be a true session beer. This would make for a great ballpark brew. One surprise for me, however, was that while I normally like most beers to be on the cooler side, particularly the lighter styles, Pepe Nero continued to improve as it approached room temperature, releasing its full flavor profile and becoming significantly more complex.

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: It pours chestnut to black under a finely bubbled 2” tan foam collar that grips the side of the glass.
S: Yeasty fruit aromas, spicy grain, toast, pepper.
T: Citrus to banana flavors seasoned with light chocolate and caramel with a dab of rye spice. Has an underlying sweetness.
F: It has a very rich, creamy texture with a medium to medium light body and a medium high carbonation.
O: A creamy, easy to drink dark saison.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle a little above fridge temp poured into a snifter. bottled on 1/07/11.

pours out nearly pitch black, reveals a bit of ruby brown on the edges in the light. big thick frothy biege head. some very nice retention and lace. looks almost like an imperial stout.

in the aroma, some lightly roasted, toasted malts mix with a phenolic belgian yeast and some dark fruits. a bit of nuts, and a hint of pepper.

i didnt think too highly of the taste, but as it warmed, it really took on some nice flavors and won me over. a very nice balance of caramely, slightly roasted malts, cocoa, peppercorns, dark fruits, plums, and a phenolicy yeast. the pepper and creamy malts really take hold of your palate in the finish.

light mouthfeel, very creamy on the palate, lingering spice on the tongue. a bright carbonation that settles quickly. easy to drink. fairly dry finish, the pepper adds to this. the slightest bit of acidity is noticable.

overall, a very interesting take on this popular style. the peppercorn and dark malts go with the saison yeast very well. i can see homebrewing something like this in the near future...

Photo of ehammond1
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

A nearly black pour with a thin brown head. Some lacing down the glass.

A lot of roasted malt character in the nose and some peppery spice.

Roasted malts, a touch of fruitiness, and some hops. Not a lot of Belgian character or funky yeast here, but certainly a tasty drink.

Medium mouthfeel to light mouthfeel, plenty of carbonation.

An easy drinking, roasty and malty farmhouse ale like nothing I've ever experienced before. I'm glad I tried it.

Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. 2011 bottle. Bottled on 02/24/11.

Appearance: Very dark drown and almost totally black. Pour erupts into a huge six finger tan head that settles into a smaller thick layer. Lots of lacing.

Smell: Belgian yeast with a lot of peppers. Some roasted malts and a solid presence of citrus fruits including pineapple, peach, and tangerine. Also some hints of chocolate and coffee. Quite complex and interesting.

Taste: Starts like a Saison with lots of Belgian yeast and peppercorn. A strong presence of citrus follows with hints of orange, pineapple, pear, peach, and tangerine. The finish is very roasty like a porter with dark malts, chocolate, and coffee. Everything comes together very well.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a medium to high level of carbonation. Creamy, smooth, and slightly dry.

Overall: A very complex and interesting take on a Saison. Very tasty.

Photo of HopsForBrains
3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled back in 2013; smell is almost champagne-like. The taste feels more alcoholic than it is.

Photo of rwathree
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle pour into tulip glass.

A: very nice. opaque black at the center, with chocolate-brown hues on the edges when held up to light. A half-inch tan head lingers for a good time and leaves a lasting lace.

S: clove and coriander, banana and a hint of orange, but those peppercorns come through after a delay, similar to the delayed kick of wasabi.

T: wow wow. The pepper is no joke here, and it's the first flavor I get from this. Beneath the initial kick of spice are the farmhouse flavors suggested by the nose, and a kiss of floral hop bitterness at the end. The dryest of dry chocolate is here too. This is good.

M: on the minus side, there's a bit of a chalky aftertaste, but it doesn't last too long. On the plus side, the spices linger and the pepper flavors pop for a while. Again, I'm reminded of wasabi by the way the spices travel through my sinuses.

O: this is an impressive beer. I like the surprise element involved here - a dark farmhouse ale that smells much brighter than it looks but tastes much darker than it smells. I've had this with enchilades mole before and liked it a lot. I wouldn't pair this with any spicy meal - it might overwhelm many thai dishes, for instance - but anything rich and spicy would be perfect. Vindaloo would be perfect. OK, yes, great beer.

Photo of thatruth
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: pours coffee color into glass. good Guinness colored two finger head, with proper lacing. both which stay around. damn near opaque in glass with milk chocolate hues. iTorch held up to the glass reveals sediment and haze.

S: nutty, cocoa, malty, hint of almost a pear smell (in the hops, maybe?)

T: tastes pretty much how it smells, without the pear.

M: aftertaste is almost coconut, but not overly so. spritz-y on-bringing. quirky yet smooth finish. completes being ultimately wet.

O: definitely the second favorite of the Belgian Style Ale offerings from Goose Island. Pere Jacques was okay, Matilda was amazing, and Pepe Nero is a good balance to complete the trilogy. I unintentionally drank them in order of alcohol content, as well.

*Bottled on: 12/28/11

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a chalice)
bottled 1/07/11
A- This beer pours a deep black body with no light showing through. There are tiny bubbles that glide up the glass sides to support a thin tan head that last a good bit.

S- The slight bubblegum yeasty ester has a lemon note to it with some dry coffee roasted malt and raw roasted grain notes that grew as the beer opened up. There was a burnt note in the finish that took on a sweaty, smoky quality when the beer warmed.

T- The pungent herbal hops were full and blended with the roasted bitterness of black malt and spice of peppercorns with a dry raisin quality that turned more licorice as the beer warms. The finish is a black roasted malt with some faint fruity qualities and a bitter lingering flavor from the black malt and peppercorns.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a full fizzy texture on the tongue with no real alcohol heat noticed.

D- This beer was very dry and astringent in the roasted black malt flavors and it covered up a lot of the other flavors. The fizz really enhanced the dry bitterness in the finish not that that was really a good thing and there was no saision yeast character noticed which was a bit disappointing.

Photo of CloudStrife
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. 06/11/2012 0925

A: Pours a very dark ruby-brown appearing black in the glass. A one or two finger light khaki head sits on top of this brew. Leaves nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Not an overly aromatic beer. Bit of oxidation has perhaps flattened this out. A dark fruitiness lingers and becomes more evident as it warms. Decent yeastiness. Hint of alcohol.

T: Tough to describe but I would say it is almost like a light version of an abbey ale. Saison characteristics do come through but there is a malty dark fruit to it. You can pull out some of the peppercorn spice. Roasted malt comes through as it warms.

M: Light body with loads of carbonation. Crisp and refreshing finish. Very smooth.

Overall pretty tasty beer, will have to try a fresh one again but this one had great flavor. Worth a try by any belgian beer fan.

Photo of Jeffreysan
3.07/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

22 oz bottle, 2011 edition, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with a finger and a half of off-white-colored head that slowly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Unfortunately, not a lot of aroma, which disappoints. I get some faint notes of roasted malt and Belgian yeast, but not much of those and nothing of any other aromas.

Taste: Good flavors of roasted malt, followed by some funky Belgian yeast, and slight notes, but nothing overpowering of funky sourness. There are also some nice flavors of licorice, brown sugar-like sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and very smooth, as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 6.0%, there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: Good beer, even though it’s more than a little old (2011). Good flavors combined with a good mouthfeel. I really liked it. I’ll have to try some fresher bottles to see how different they are.

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

Bottled in December 2011.

A- Pitch-black liquid with trickles of carbonation. Light but frothy 3-4 fingers of head and streaks of lace. 4.25

S- Sweet malt and dark fruit. Very faint aromas. 3

T- Licorice notes, dark fruit and floral yeast. Sweet malt flavor is heavy on the finish with a slight caramel, almost molasses flavor. 4.25

M- Effervescent throughout, with a smooth, creamy body. It's pleasantly sweet and I don't detect any bitterness. 4.25

This aged very well. It drank smoothly and retained a good amount of flavor. 4.25

Photo of tastybeer
3.86/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Deep brown, red where the light shines through around the edges, and a very light brown moderate sized head. Thin retention and not much for lace. Aroma is lightly sweet, a little flowery, and spicy. Figs, molasses, and black cherry. Some banana and bubble gum and slightly phenolic. Smell is creamy with light doughy malt and a darker roasty underbelly. Taste is interestingly basic and easily enjoyable. Malty with some brisk piney hop and soft Belgian saison characteristics. A nice blend and probably a good choice even if you don't really feel like the style. A little roasted malt with some typical Belgian flavors. Mouthfeel is velvety, creamy, and perfectly carbonated with super fine little bubbles. Pretty good beer. Nicely balanced dark Belgian saison.

Photo of GilGarp
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage. Bottled 3/4/11 to be specific.

Bomber served cellar temperature into an etched-bottom New Belgium goblet.

Pepe Nero is not strictly nero in color, actually a very dark brown with good clarity seen on the pour. It forms a nice thick crown of head that settles very slowly. Heavy lace is left all the way down the glass.

The aroma of this beer doesn't say farmhouse or saison as stated on the bottle. It's more of a Belgian dark ale with nice rich malt character and slight roasty quality. The yeast imparts a pleasant clove-y spice.

The taste makes the designation start to make more sense. Strong black pepper, smoke, and roasted malts. Very little sweetness and almost completely dominated by the strong flavors mentioned above. It could use a little more balance.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated. Alcohol is subtle but spices are not.

Overall a beer that, from first impressions, seems like a winner. However, with each sip, my mouth grows more tired of the heavy-handed pepper. Worth a try if you're into such beers.

Photo of ChopperSmith
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a dark brown bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Deep dark and hazy brown, with just a hint of amber tint when held to the light. One finger of creamy tan foam that dissipated quickly, but left nice stick lacing. Looks more like a stout than a Saison...but I like surprises from my beer.

Smell: Sweet, malty, yeasty and a little spice like clove. Maybe a hint of banana in the yeast. Nice.

Taste: It's definitely a Belgian yeast flavor...but maybe more like a Dark Belgian Strong Ale than a Saison. But I can taste the rustic farmhouse yeast and flavors. So it's an interesting hybrid. Very sweet and malty, with that obvious Belgian yeast flavor as well.

Mouth Feel: Medium-bodied and creamy. Sweet and a bit sticky. Low carbonation. It all works for this style.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Like a Belgian Saison, but with a bigger roasted malt profile. Interesting and nice.

Photo of Sammy
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A black saison. A winter saison. Jon's bottle, and finally caught up with this one that I missed in NYC. A dark body, above average mouthfeel, a sipper of chocolate, coffee, spruce, pepper. Cross-style with a shwartzbier. Wonderful aroma.Bit of smoke.

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Pepe Nero from Goose Island Beer Co.
85 out of 100 based on 1,691 ratings.